The EESC's engagement with civil society organisations in Russia is governed by the five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations agreed between EU foreign ministers and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. One of these guiding principles is "support for people-to-people contacts".
Dialogue and the exchange of experiences between civil society representatives from the EU and Russia contribute in a significant way to the continued implementation of the EU-Russia Strategic Partnership. The EESC has adopted a two-stranded approach to its relations with Russian civil society in order to engage with as wide a range of civil society representatives as possible. On the one hand, it maintains relations with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, its official Russian counterpart, and organises – amongst other things – annual joint seminars on topics of interest to civil society on both sides. The EESC's other partner is the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, which brings together a different set of civil society organisations.
The EU-Russia Follow-up Committee is an internal EESC body, which acts as a steering group, and is responsible for developing and maintaining relations and organising meetings and joint seminars with civil society in Russia.
On 30 and 31 March, 100 students and 39 teachers from all 28 EU Member States and the five EU candidate countries (Albania, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey) met at the EESC in Brussels for “Your Europe, Your Say!” 2017. This year's theme was “Europe @ 60: Where to next?”.
The EESC organised debates with organised civil society in all Member States between 2 September and 2 November 2016. The debates were coordinated by three EESC members ('trios') from the country concerned, often in co-operation with the European Commission (15 debates) or the national Economic and Social Council (7 debates).
On 17-18 March 2016, students from schools in all 28 EU Member States and, for the first time, from the 5 EU candidate countries (Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey) met at the EESC in Brussels for Your Europe, Your Say!. They came to debate an issue that has been one of the most important topics on the European political agenda for some time: migration and integration. The key question for this year’s event was “How can we better integrate migrants and refugees in our societies?”.
The European Union: how does it work? Can you influence decisions? Do you know how the policies that affect your life are made?
What if some of the EU’s complicated procedures were turned into a game – fun to play but challenging as well – that you could download onto your smartphone, tablet or laptop?